Travel around the world and you'll find a different kind of skewered, fire-roasted meat wherever you go. On the streets of Beijing, you'll spot these spicy lamb skewers coated in cumin and chili flakes. But there's no need to go to China just to have them—you can make them right in your own yard on the grill. Here's how.
Why It WorksA Beijing street-food classic, made easy at home. Read the Whole Story
- Coarsely grinding the spices ensures they don't become pasty when wet.
- Lamb shoulder chops offer the perfect balance of fat and meat for juicy, tender, flavorful skewers.
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 1/4 pound lamb shoulder chops, cut into 1-inch pieces and bones discarded (see note above)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water at least 2 hours and up to overnight
- Type of fire: two-zone indirect
- Grill heat: medium-high
In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, coarsely grind chili flakes, cumin, and fennel. Add granulated garlic and kosher salt and briefly grind to break salt into smaller pieces and thoroughly combine ingredients.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the spice mix in a small bowl. Add lamb to a large bowl and toss thoroughly with the remaining spice mix, oil, and Shaoxing wine.
Grill skewers, covered, over indirect heat until lamb is nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
Move skewers over direct heat, sprinkle with the reserved spice mix, and cook until well seared on both sides, about 1 minute total.
Remove skewers from the grill and serve right away.